Of Fire and Lions
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: Of Fire and Lions
Author: Mesu Andrews
Major Themes: Daniel, Babylon
Synopsis: When Bablyon is overrun by enemies, Daniel and his wife realize their need to be honest with their children about their past lives.
Several years ago, I read Miriam, by Mesu Andrews. When I saw Of Fire and Lions, by her, recently, I was cautiously interested. Biblical fiction can be good—but I’m always leery about adding too much to what we know about Bible characters. On the other hand, she had done a good enough job with the other book that I wanted to read this one.
This book switches back and forth between two points of view. Belili, the main character, tells her story in first person; in between her stories, we get to read Daniel’s point of view, in third person. This change in voice made it easy to keep track of whose story I was reading.
Abigail was among the captives taken to Babylon during the first captivity, when Daniel and his three friends were also taken. She was assigned to be their servant on the long trip—but then she was made into a temple servant. Just in time to save her from a lifetime of bondage in the temple, Daniel pulled strings and she became his handmaid—but soon after he started talking about marrying her, she had to flee for her life to a far-off city.
The worst part of Belili’s life, as she was now called, began in Achmetha. She managed to claw her way up to the position of high priestess, and then married a high official. My question, through a large portion of the book, was how in the world did she end up back with Daniel, as I learned in the first couple of chapters. It took awhile, but was an amazing journey to discover the answer.
As you read this book, you will be treated to “first-hand” accounts of each of the first six chapters of the book of Daniel. The section which dealt with Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity was the pivotal part of the book, and the one I had the most issues with. This book makes it out that the seven years of insanity were kept a secret until long after Nebuchadnezzar died. However, if you read Daniel chapter 4, the king himself seems to have written a letter to his realm describing what happened. To me, it felt like the author took just a little too much liberty with Scripture here.
The main theme of the book is honesty. Because Belili was not willing to be honest with Daniel and with her children about her pst life, she experienced the very thing she was afraid of: The rejection of her family. Once she and Daniel were able to be honest and share their past failures, healing could happen—but what would they have to go through before reaching that point?
I received a free ecopy of this book from NetGalley and chose to write a review.
Reading Independently— Adults
Links to buy Of Fire and Lions:
Keywords: Daniel, Babylon, Biblical Fiction, Israel, Persia, Books for Women